NSW is rolling out its food and entertainment vouchers this month, giving residents $100 to spend at cafes, restaurants – and even the zoo

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  • The NSW government is set to launch its Dine & Discover voucher scheme this month to promote spending across dining, arts and tourism.
  • Four $25 vouchers will be available for residents aged over 18 via the Service NSW app.
  • The scheme seeks to boost discretionary spending at hotels, cafes and restaurants, which was still down almost 30% nationally in December 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The NSW Government’s much-promoted Dine & Discover voucher scheme is set to open for business in March with $100 worth of vouchers available through the Service NSW app, with the goal of promoting more small-dollar spending at dining, arts and tourism businesses.

From March, the Government says NSW residents aged 18 and over will be eligible to receive four $25 vouchers to spend at their leisure everywhere from cafes and restaurants, pubs and clubs, cinemas and museums, bowling clubs – and even the zoo. You can visit Service NSW for a full list of participating venues.

The scheme seeks to boost discretionary spending at hotels, cafes and restaurants, which was still down almost 30% nationally in December 2020, according to data released by the ABS.

COVID-19 travel restrictions continued to impact these individual categories through the end of last year, as well as capacity limits for hospitality venues, public events and office attendance numbers.

Two vouchers can be used for eating in at restaurants, cafes, bars, wineries, pubs and clubs, and the remaining two are reserved for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues.

The program was meant to launch on March 1, however the ‘vouchers’ section of the Service NSW app still appears empty.

A Service NSW spokesperson said there have been delays but that the scheme will be live “very soon.”

Dine & Discover kicked off with a small pilot in The Rocks and Broken Hill in February, and was tested in Sydney’s inner-city, Northern Beaches and Bega Valley in late February.

How will it work?

Participants will use their phone or tablet to scan and accept vouchers using the Service NSW app, which is also used to check in using a QR code to most NSW businesses.

The scheme leaves participants out of the equation, with businesses reimbursed by the government.

However there are some ground rules.

Vouchers can’t be redeemed for cash, nor can they be used for takeaway, alcohol, tobacco or gambling.

You can only use one voucher a day at an individual business, and if you spend less than the allocated $25 voucher neither you or the business get the spare change.

What’s happening in my state?

Regional Travel Voucher Scheme in Victoria

The NSW Government scheme comes off the back of similar statewide programs aimed at further boosting travel and consumer spending in late 2020.

In December 2020, the Victorian Government launched the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, which reimbursed $200 to Victorians who took trips in regional areas of the state.

The scheme was hugely successful, selling out in just 31 minutes, and leading to a second round in late January.

Applications for Round 3 will open on the 30 March, 2021.

The $28 million travel scheme is the largest travel voucher scheme currently running in Australia, with smaller programs also running in South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory.

Discount vouchers in Canberra

Canberra’s discounts vouchers allow residents and visitors to redeem daily digital discounts to support local businesses across hospitality, tourism and retail businesses across the city.

Visit the Choose CBR website for more information.

…And a third round of vouchers in Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is on round 3 of its popular tourism voucher scheme, which offers a $200 voucher that can be spent on accommodation, activities and experiences across the NT.

Join the waitlist for round 3 of voucher releases here.

Tourism Australia doubles down on domestic tourism

Tourism Australia, after pushing travel to regional areas in it’s ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign – following the Australian bushfires – is also refocusing cities, with a major new campaign promoting dining, entertainment, retail and cultural offerings in Australia’s capital cities.

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